Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022

Taanis 20: The Little Things

On this daf, we find a sage who mistreated someone by greeting him improperly but then begged for forgiveness.

It is certainly distinctive that agriculture in Eretz Yisroel is so dependent on rainfall. Farmers are very anxious that there be enough of the right sort of rain to ensure that their crop yield is maximal. Our sages explain that rainfall in Eretz Yisroel depends on how we act.

One Simchas Torah years ago, a group of farmers approached Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein and asked him what they could do to ensure that there would be good rains that year. “We want to know what our obligation is. Where should we put our energies to hopefully act properly so that rain will come?

The rov gave a surprising reply: “One thing you can do is greet people cheerfully. Even being careful in such a simple thing can help bring rain.

“This is true regarding all levels of interpersonal relations. We improve our interpersonal relationships practically by little things, like how we greet others. By acting friendly, we can sometimes literally impart life to our neighbor or friend who may be enduring a difficult time in life or having a hard day. And the opposite is also true. How many days have been ruined by a little insensitivity or a slight lack of regard for our fellows?

“Not too long ago, a visitor came to see me. He was very disgruntled because the people in the shul where he prayed didn’t greet him or even appear to notice the stranger in their midst. He was very insulted by this oversight, which was surely unintentional. It hurt him greatly. Such a little thing can sometimes determine how much rain we will get. It is therefore worth working on being careful to encourage the people we meet and to be vigilant never to do anything that could offend someone” (Tuvcha Yabiu, Part I, p. 31).

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